SEMA Member News - May/June 2010

Moving On…

A Farewell From the ARMO Chairman

The ARMO booth is always a popular SEMA Show stop for restoration enthusiasts and ARMO members. A new and exciting addition for 2010 will be a photo collection of theproducts that were on display in the ARMO New Product Showcase at Spring Carlisle.  

Time to move forward, as all things must change. This is my last writing as your chairman, a title that I have been honored to hold, although I do not intend to disappear. My time as chair has allowed me to meet many new and wonderful people from all parts of our industry.

I want to thank each and every one of you for introducing yourselves to me during my travels and taking the time to tell me about your concerns.

Our industry has seen a significant downturn in the last few years, and several member companies have had to close their doors, unable to hold on until better times return. Amazingly, I heard of several new companies opening at the start of this year, which is an indication of the true spirit of those involved in the restoration industry. Allow me to revisit my own ARMO beginnings some 10 years ago.

I attended my first ARMO open meeting in 2000. What I found was a small group of ARMO members who were very passionate about the automotive restoration aftermarket. This group was the eyes, ears and voice for its membership, providing forums for training, education, the annual New Product Showcase, information about legislative issues, licensing issues and, above all, a place to network with peers. I soon learned that this council has a rich tradition of coming together for the good of our industry.

Upon becoming further involved, I learned of the council’s tradition of knowing when to take off your company hat and put on your industry hat, making decisions and creating programs that benefit our members. The knowledge and business experience of those who attend our open meetings, long-range planning meetings and mixers is tremendous. Just imagine being able to walk up to people who head $50 million or $100 million restoration companies with 200 employees and asking questions about what they see as future growth trends, obstacles to overcome or simply seeking some words for a smaller entrepreneur with smaller sales and 10 employees.

Whether you seek to speak with a restoration shop owner, a parts manufacturer, a retailer or someone from the print or television media, the council’s functions are the place to find meaningful conversations. I quickly learned that the ARMO council was an investment that would reap rewards. The investment of my time has yielded friends and business relationships that I simply cannot place a monetary number on, but I know that I would not have grown in this industry without them. I encourage you to get involved, invest your time and lift your head up to gain a vision of where our industry is headed. You and your company will reap the benefits.

As my term as chairman expires, I leave you with our youngest but, perhaps, most capable chair ever—and ARMO’s first female council chair. The membership is in great hands with Laura Bergan at the helm. She has a vision for the council and this industry. Every decision I have seen her make and every question she has asked has made it clear that she has the best interests of the members at heart. Although I remain immediate past chairman and am here to help and advise her, Bergan is very fortunate to have Alex Tainsh as her chair-elect. As one of the original founding members of ARMO, Tainsh knows this industry well.

In closing I want to state this: If you are involved in SEMA/ARMO, I want to thank you for your involvement, and I challenge you to do even more to help our industry grow, to continue to attract young people and to help make a difference. If you are not involved, there is no better time than now to get started. Contact a Select Committee member and become involved with the council. It is worth the effort!

Good luck, and God bless!

Thank you for all your support! 

Jim Barber 


ARMO New Products on Display in Las Vegas

The annual ARMO New Product Showcase continues to grow in size and popularity with the membership, thanks in no small part to the efforts of ARMO volunteers who oversee the event and strive to make improvements and enhancements each year. One of the improvements for this year more than doubles the exposure of products on display in the showcase.
The ARMO New Product Showcase was once again held at Spring Carlisle, April 21–25, 2010, at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. All of the products on display were professionally photographed, and those photographs will be arranged and on display in the ARMO booth at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas!